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The King of Dinosaurs

Human Origins Gallery

Discover a new "Lucy"
  • WhereKirtland Hall of Prehistoric Life
The new Human Origins Gallery explores the evolution of various early human ancestor species and outlines the physical changes through time leading to modern humans. The exhibition is organized into seven thematic stages based on milestones.

One of the most up-to-date human evolution galleries in the world, the exhibit will include casts of early human ancestor fossils currently under active research. Starting with our place in nature as primates, the gallery traces the entire journey we have traveled for almost 6 million years to become who we are today—a large-brained animal living in a digital age.

Lucy will greet visitors, serving as the focal point of the gallery with two brand-new versions of her reconstruction—lifelike and skeletal—on display. In preparation for the new exhibit, Museum artisans sculpted skeletal elements, cast 102 pieces in resin and painstakingly assembled the mount of the famous partial skeleton. The articulated mount reflects current knowledge of the individual's anatomy based on new fossil evidence. It features a newly sculpted and reshaped rib cage handcrafted from foam and a spine that more accurately represents the curvature of the lower back.

Sharing the spotlight with the new Lucy skeletal mount will be a strikingly lifelike sculpture created by internationally renowned paleoartist John Gurche. This fully "fleshed-out" model details the muscular build and facial features of the upright walking Lucy. The award-winning artist sculpted the work in clay from the Museum's skeleton cast, then molded and cast the piece in silicone. It was then painted and implanted with natural-looking eyes and hair.

Overall, the Human Origins Gallery features more than 40 specimens, including fossil casts. Among the key specimens is a cast of "Kadanuumuu," a specimen of Lucy's species recently discovered by an international team led by Museum curator of physical anthropology Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie that is still under active research. In addition to specimen displays, visitors can engage in hands-on and media-based interactive exhibits.